Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap comes our way from Del Mar in beautiful Southern California this Saturday, August 22. A purse of $250,000 will be on the line for horses three years old and upward willing to go 1 3/8 miles on Del Mar's turf track.
A field of nine will line up in the Del Mar Handicap - race 8 on Del Mar's Saturday schedule. Post time is 5:40 PM. Let's take a peek into the past performances of all nine combatants for this Grade 2 stakes.
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2015 Del Mar Handicap Race Favorite Entries
Ashleyluvssugar - has 12 career starts for trainer Peter Eurton with six wins and two third place finishes. Last time out was an uncharacteristic sixth in the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth July 5. It followed a nice three race win streak - in the Grade 2 Charles Whittingham Stakes May 24, by 2 1/4 lengths over Finnegan's Wake in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes March 21 and an Allowance Optional Claiming score in February. Ashleyluvssugar has won four of his last six starts overall but looks for a bounce back after an unflattering result last time out. Gary Stevens rides the 123 pound co-highweight in his return to the preferred California climate - from the rail.
Finnegan's Wake - Peter Miller trainee has seven wins, four seconds and four third place finishes in 32 career starts and had been on fire before consecutive fourth place finishes in June - in the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita June 27 and in the Grade 1 Manhattan Stakes at Belmont Park June 6. He had won four of his previous five starts before those results - the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs May 2 followed a second in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes and a three straight wins -- the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes February 7, the Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes January 3 and the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup here November 27. Last time out was an OK third in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes here July 18. He has been just OK as of late and hopes to rediscover the form he had in the winter when he leaves from gate 8 with Victor Espinoza in the irons of the 123 pound co-highweight.
Del Mar Handicap 2015 | Remaining Contenders
Ganesh - Brazilian bred Richard Mandella trainee won three straight stakes races at home including a Group 1 in September and two Group 2 races before shipping to North America. He made his anticipated debut here April 4 and finished a somewhat disappointing fifth in the minor Thunder Road Stakes on this track but bounced back with a respectable second in the Grade 3 Last Tycoon Stakes here April 25. Last time out was another good second - behind Ashleyluvssugar in the Grade 2 Charles Whittingham Stakes at Santa Anita in May. Ganesh has 23 career starts with seven wins, four seconds and a third place finish and enters in decent form. Flavien Prat has the call from gate 2 Saturday looking for his first North American score.
Big John B - defending champion by 5 1/2 lengths won six of 11 starts last year with a third place finish in there - four straight victories last summer including the 2014 Del Mar Handicap August 23, an Allowance Optional Claiming by 7 1/4 lengths, a Starter Handicap June 29 and a Claiming score in May. He enters this week looking good - two straight wins ahead of his repeat attempt. Last time out the win came in the Grade 3 Cougar II Handicap here July 24 after a Starter Handicap score at Santa Anita June 28. They followed two disappointing results - an eighth in the Grade 3 Last Tycoon Stakes and a ninth place finish in the Breeders' Cup Turf. Big John B has 33 career starts with 13 wins, five seconds and four third place finishes and hopes to keep the roll going Saturday. Rafael Bejarano has the mount from gate 4.
Power Ped - made his graded stakes debut January 3 for trainer Neil Drysdale and finished a decent third behind Finnegans Wake and Patrioticandproud in the Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes and followed that with a win in the minor Cotton Fitzsimmons Stakes at Turf Paradise January 17 and a good second February 7 in the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita. He has been OK since - a third place finish last time out in an Allowance Optional Claiming followed a fourth in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes July 18 - both results on this track. He has placed in six of his last seven starts overall and looks OK ahead of this weekend. Tyler Baze has been tabbed to ride from gate 6.
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Little Jerry - Richard Baltas trained gelding has 29 career starts with just five wins, four seconds and two third place finishes- he has yet to place in four graded stakes tries. Last time out was an Allowance Optional Claiming score here July 30 after a fourth in a similar race in May and a sixth in the Grade 3 American Stakes at Santa Anita three weeks prior to that. Little Jerry has placed in just one of his last five starts overall and looks like he'll be in tough - from post 5 with Martin Pedroza in the saddle.
Flamboyant - French bred Peter Gallagher trained gelding placed in all eight starts overseas including three wins but hasn't been great since debuting in North America. He won the minor La Puenta Stakes in April, 2014, finished second in the minor Pennine Ridge Stakes a month later and was third in the Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitational in July, 2014 but has failed to place in his last six starts overall. Last time out was a sixth in the minor Wickerr Stakes here July 22 after consecutive sevenths in Allowance Optional Claiming races and a sixth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby. Flamboyant looks to snap an ugly string Saturday when he leaves from post 3 with Alex Solis aboard.
Lideris - made his North American debut June 28, 2014 trainer Doug O'Neill and finished fifth in last year's Gold Cup at Santa Anita and has been disappointing since - failing to place in five starts. Last time out was a fourth in the Grade 2 Cougar II Handicap here July 24 after a sixth in the Grade 1 Gold Cup June 27, another sixth in the Grade 2 Californian and a ninth in the Grade 3 Greenwood Cup. That makes six North American starts and six off-the-board finishes. He had a couple of good wins in Peru - a Group 1 and a Group 2 but has yet to show much on North American soil. Hopes are that he can finally get on track Saturday from the rail with Mario Gutierrez in the reins.
Danas Best - had 20 career starts in Australia with seven wins, two seconds and a third place finish an finished fifth in an Allowance Optional Claiming in his only North American start - on this track July 30. He has placed in just one of his last seven starts overall - not a whole lot is expected when he departs from the outside post 9 with Joel Rosario guiding him.